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Environmental biofilms

Research project Microorganisms in environmental systems often exist in the form of multi-species communities for example covering rocks in streams etc. In this project we investigate these microbial systems and how they interact with pollutants.

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Head of project

Madeleine Ramstedt
Associate professor
E-mail
Email

Project overview

Project period:

Start date: 2018-01-01

Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Department of Chemistry

Research area

Chemical sciences, Environmental chemistry

Project description

We currently have two ongoing research projects concerning environmental biofilms. One concerning biofilm interactions with pharmaceuticals and the other biofilm interactions with Hg.

In the first project, we study the interactions between multi-species biofilms in fresh water and pharmaceuticals in the environment. The research consists of three stages: Inventory of natural biofilms in a stream affected by wastewater with pharmaceuticals, construction of model systems that can reproduce certain aspects of natural biofilms, detailed studies of interactions between the model systems and pharmaceuticals. We aim to investigate two hypotheses: 1) Fresh water biofilms degrade pharmaceuticals. 2) Fresh water biofilms accumulate pharmaceuticals. This work is funded through a project grant from The Swedish Research Council Formas as well a funding from Umeå University. It was started in 2018 and is a collaboration with Jerker Fick at Umeå University and Mette Burmølle at University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

The second project deals with increasing fundamental understanding of how biofilms influence the biogeochemical cycling of Hg. This project is done in close collaboration with the group of Erik Björn at the Chemistry department. It is funded through a project grant from the Kempe foundation and started in 2020.

Publications of interest:

2021. Do environmental pharmaceuticals affect the composition of bacterial communities in a freshwater stream? A case study of the Knivsta river in the south of Sweden